Africa | Benin | Quida – The port of no return
Im in the town of Quida, the voodoo center of Benin. In between the years of 1800 – 1900 Quida also served as a port for transporting slaves from Benin and east Togo to countries like the US, Brazil & Haiti. I walked today down the slaves route, the last 4km that the slaves walked on African soil until reaching the port and ships where they were crammed in decks so low they could only lie down. All the shit, urine and vomit of those in the upper decks fell on those under them.
I walked on the dirt road, coconut trees on both sides, beautiful scenery and for a moment felt like one of those slaves. I simply cannot understand how humans are capable of such deeds. We, the white people, ‘the superior race’, ‘the enlighten culture’, the westerners and modern have done such horrible and shocking acts in the past that we should have been imprisoned now for life with no possibility for pardon. Slavery, in my Israeli eyes, is the personal holocaust of the blacks. Around 20 million blacks (the number is controversial among historians) were sent from Africa and only about half survived the hardships of the journey. Of those who did survive, their life expectancy was between 4-5 years.
Writing to you and meanwhile the mosquitoes are having a feast on me. Dont care, used to it already. True I can get Malaria (I never take anti malaria pills), so what. 7 years Ive been traveling in Malaria infected areas and never got it. Everyone I know got it at least once. I also want it, only once. I know it sounds crazy to you but dont bother trying to understand. I have problems understanding my own logic sometimes.
Received an E-mail today from a woman that has lived 6 years in Ghana during her childhood. She is a mother for 3, she writes, and the smells and colors of Ghana are still in her head. Dear, Africa is probably a cureless disease. You got it once and its for always. On the other hand, who wants to be cured?
Exactly when you are sure that you have seen everything in life (been there, did that) and nothing can already surprise you, boom!
The taxi driver who took me to Lome, the Capital of Togo, asked for the sum of CFA3,000 for the ride, a price that seemed to me exaggerated. I entered the taxi and asked the other passengers how much the ride should cost. Usually they are not willing to respond, dont know why, or tell you to ask the driver (yeah, big help). This time, not only that they told me that it should cost only CFA1,000 but they warned me again and again not to pay more. I went out of the taxi and told the driver, which was tying my backpack to the roof, that Im not paying a penny more than 1,000. As I expected, he pretended to be angry and started untying my backpack. I know these tricks already. In 95% of the cases its only a tactic. Without saying a word I took my backpack and moved away from the taxi. The moment the other passengers saw me with the backpack they all, and I mean all, came out and started shouting at the driver. The angriest of them all was a fat mama, the type that when they open their mouth you dont wanna be in the area. I stood on the side, shocked, looking at everyone quarreling with the driver for me. The mama turned to me, took my backpack and ordered me to get into the cab in a tone that even Sylvester Stallone would have obeyed. Of course at the end I paid only 1,000. The shouting and arguing went on for most of the ride. When we got of the taxi I almost hugged and kissed her if it wasnt for her husband who was standing besides her looking not a bit less scary than her.